Car Free Sunday: Brussels to be largest car-free zone in Europe

Car Free Sunday: Brussels to be largest car-free zone in Europe
Car Free Sunday last year. Credit: Orlando Whitehead

The Brussels-Capital Region will hold its much-celebrated annual Car Free Sunday on Sunday 18 September this year, when it will be the largest car-free zone in Europe.

Between 09:30 and 19:00 streets throughout the entire region will be empty of cars, making way for more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. For Brussels residents and visitors alike, it is an ideal time to (re)discover the city on foot or by bike (or e-scooter and public transport).

According to a recent survey, most Brussels residents would be in favour of increasing the number of car-free days in the region, which the government is currently exploring, the cabinet of Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt confirmed.

"We have discussed this with the mayors of the 19 municipalities and are now collecting all the information regarding the economic impact and how much an increase in car-free days will cost. Our objective is definitely to organise more," Van den Brandt's spokesperson told The Brussels Times.

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Data from last year's event showed a noticeable drop in air pollution in some of the busiest parts of the city and considerably less noise pollution with levels reduced by more than 10 decibels at measuring stations located near motorways.

Under exceptional circumstances, exemptions can be requested but all traffic regulations will continue to apply to these people and the speed is limited to 30 km/h everywhere.

Mobility Week in the region

Car Free Sunday is the high point of the Brussels Mobility Week, which runs from 16 to 22 September. This year's theme is to "Make Brussels a city for children." A recent study showed that between the ages of 12 and 16, the risk of having an accident on the way to school increases each year a pupil gets older.

"Prioritising the needs of children when rethinking the public space means rethinking mobility to create a more inclusive city," Brussels Mobility wrote in a statement.

The week will highlight initiatives that improve children's mobility and their integration in public spaces.

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